There are three main variations of baccarat, known as baccarat chemin de fer (chemmy), baccarat banque, and perhaps the most well-known of the trio, punto banco. When playing in an online casino format, the latter is the form you will come across most frequently, as it allows players to take on the house directly without the need for fellow players to interact with, allowing for instant play round the clock. It is also a game which is based on chance; the fulcrum of any profitable casino.
Because most online casinos only use punto banco, the odds are it will simply be labelled baccarat, and so you should assume this is what you will be playing unless otherwise stated. The player will compete against a dealer and the outcome will be decided by chance based upon the cards dealt to each player. The game is played using an even multiple of packs which can range between 4 and 8, which is an important piece of information to retain when considering the odds of coming across a certain card or combination of cards.
Initially, two cards are dealt to each player. An 8 or 9 will bring the round to a finish, or if neither player has one then a third card may be drawn. If a player has a near miss of 6 or 7, they “stand” which is to say another card is not drawn. Anything totaling 5 or lower warrants a third card. If the player stands on 2 cards, then the banker will then follow in the same manner. However, if the player drew a third card, then some more complex rules come into play to determine the outcome of the banker’s hand, which essentially lead to them being more likely to draw if their total is low.
Despite what some people will have you believe, there is no strategy to this brand of baccarat and the house has the edge at all times, albeit less than in many other chance-based games. Baccarat is often played for extremely large stakes, popular among high-rollers.